Aging is one of the most common indicators of hearing loss, and let’s face it, try as we may, we can’t escape aging. You can do some things to look younger but you’re still aging. But did you know that hearing loss has also been connected to health problems related to aging that are treatable, and in some cases, preventable? Let’s have a look at a few examples that may surprise you.
1. Your hearing could be affected by diabetes
The fact that hearing loss and diabetes have a connection is pretty well established. But why would you have a higher danger of developing hearing loss if you have diabetes? Science is at a bit of a loss here. Diabetes is known to harm the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. Blood vessels in the inner ear might, theoretically, be getting destroyed in a similar way. But overall health management may also be a consideration. A 2015 study found that people with overlooked diabetes had worse results than people who were treating and managing their diabetes. If you are concerned that you might be prediabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s essential to talk with a physician and have your blood sugar screened. And, it’s a good idea to get in touch with us if you think your hearing might be compromised.
2. Danger of hearing loss associated falls increases
Why would your risk of falling go up if you have hearing loss? Our sense of balance is, to some degree, regulated by our ears. But there are other reasons why falling is more likely if you have loss of hearing. People with hearing loss who have taken a fall were the subjects of a recent study. The study didn’t detail the cause of the falls but it did speculate that missing crucial sounds, such as a car honking, could be a huge part of the cause. But it might also go the other way, if difficulty hearing means you’re paying more attention to sounds than to your surroundings, it could be easy to stumble and fall. The good news here is that treating hearing loss could potentially decrease your danger of having a fall.
3. Control high blood pressure to safeguard your hearing
Several studies have shown that hearing loss is associated with high blood pressure, and some have discovered that high blood pressure may actually speed up age-related hearing loss. This kind of news may make you feel like your blood pressure is actually going up. But it’s a link that’s been found rather consistently, even when controlling for variables such as noise exposure and whether you’re a smoker. (Please don’t smoke.) The only variable that makes a difference appears to be gender: If you’re a male, the link between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even stronger.
Your ears aren’t a component of your circulatory system, but they’re really close to it. Two of your body’s main arteries are positioned right by your ears and it contains many tiny blood vessels. This is one reason why individuals with high blood pressure often experience tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is actually their own blood pumping. When your tinnitus symptoms are the result of your own pulse, it’s called pulsatile tinnitus. The principal theory why high blood pressure can cause hearing loss is that it can actually cause physical damage to the vessels in the ears. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more force behind each beat. That could potentially damage the smaller blood arteries in your ears. High blood pressure can be managed through both lifestyle changes and medical treatments. But if you think you’re experiencing hearing loss, even if you feel like you’re not old enough for the age-related stuff, it’s a good idea to consult with us.
4. Hearing loss and dementia
Even though a powerful connection between mental decline and hearing loss has been well established, scientists are still not completely sure what the connection is. A prevalent idea is that having difficulty hearing can cause people to avoid social situations and that social detachment, and lack of cognitive stimulation, can be debilitating. Another concept is that hearing loss taxes your brain. When your brain is working overtime to process sound, there might not be very much brainpower left for things like memory. Maintaining social ties and doing crosswords or “brain games” could help here, but so can managing hearing loss. Social engagements will be easier when you can hear clearly and instead of struggling to hear what people are saying, you can focus on the important stuff.
If you’re concerned that you might be experiencing hearing loss, make an appointment with us right away.